The S&D Group welcomes the outcome of today’s vote in which Macedonian parliamentarians have supported the Prespa agreement reached in June by Prime Ministers Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras on the name of the country. By doing so they supported the country’s Euro-Atlantic future.

“I congratulate all Macedonians and especially Prime Minister Zaev, his ruling Social Democratic Party and the parliamentarians who supported the constitutional amendments to change the country’s name to North Macedonia. By doing so Macedonians have decided to end a three-decade long name dispute with Greece and to unlock the door to EU and NATO membership. The name compromise was not easy to accept, but PM Zaev proved his maturity and a sense of responsibility towards the country,” said S&D Group president Udo Bullmann.

“We expect that this historic vote will clear the way for the opening of accession negotiations with Skopje in June 2019, as decided by the EU governments during the June summit last year. We call on the European Council to keep its promise!  The Macedonians need a clear sign that the Union is supporting their European aspirations and the efforts to build a modern and prosperous country,” he concluded.

“For years my colleagues and I have been working actively to open the EU’s door to the country and that is why today I am particularly happy. In less than two years the new social democratic government in Skopje managed to solve the 30 year old dispute with Greece and now it is the turn of the Greek Parliament to ratify the agreement with its neighbour, “ added S&D spokesperson on foreign affairs and European Parliament Mediator in the country Knut Fleckenstein.

“This opens an exciting opportunity for the country, region and for Europe: to bring the Western Balkans into the fold of the Union. Prime Minister Zaev, Foreign Minister Dimitrov and the parliamentarians – especially those from the opposition, who despite all the resistance in their own party voted in favour, showed real courage and leadership. Now it is up to all sides, especially for the majority to ensure national reconciliation,” Fleckenstein said.